In The Magician’s Nephew, C. S. Lewis portrays two children, a few adults, and a horse transported from Earth to an unknown place. It’s the darkness and silence that precedes the day of Narnia’s creation. They watch in wonder as this beautiful new world is masterfully shaped by the creator, Aslan the lion, who sings it into existence.
God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? . . . On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7).
The picture is of angels, created beings, witnessing God’s creation of the first Earth. I believe Scripture makes clear that we’ll have the privilege that was experienced by the fictional characters in The Magician’s Nephew and by the real angelic beings who witnessed the creation of the first Earth: We will actually witness the creation of the New Earth.
In John’s vision, after he saw humanity’s resurrection, he saw “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. . . . I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:1-2).
Although Scripture doesn’t state this, the New Earth’s creation might unfold in stages just as the old Earth’s creation did. The first Earth was raw and uninhabitable, dark and empty (Genesis 1:2). God then created light, and on subsequent days He created water, sky, clouds, dry ground, vegetation, seed-bearing plants and trees, sun and moon and stars, and the entire celestial heavens. Then He made the sea creatures, birds, and the rest of the animals, domestic and wild. Finally, he fashioned the man.
God may form the ground of the New Earth directly from the old. He may form the waters of the new from the old. Romans 8 implies He will form the plants and animals of the New Earth from the old Earth, just as He will form our resurrected bodies out of genetic material from our old ones.
This time, however, new mankind will preexist the New Earth. But as He did for Adam and Eve, God will prepare it for us before we step foot on it. Perhaps on the sixth day of the new creation, instead of being formed from the dust to begin civilization, new men and women—who have beheld the new creation—will be brought down in the great city to settle on the New Earth, to continue and expand civilization to the glory of God.
Perhaps we’ll watch God at work for another creative week, beholding His unfolding wonders one by one. Of course, since the forming of the New Earth is a resurrection of the old Earth, not a creation from nothing, its creation may be instantaneous. Either way, it will be spectacular, and we will watch and ooh and aah and applaud.
Just as God presented Eve to Adam in Eden, so He will bring Christ’s bride to the second Adam, Christ, on the New Earth.
We will behold the wondrous creation of the New Earth—and then we will descend to live in that place, reigning forever with our beloved King Jesus.
Excerpted from Randy’s book Heaven.
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.